What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that brings parties together to resolve their differences through discussion and problem-solving. The goal is to achieve "win-win" solutions. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate the dialogue, but is not the final decision-maker, arbitrator, or judge. Mediation can resolve disputes quickly and satisfactorily, without the expense, delay and anxiety of litigation.
Mediation offers a safe environment for parties to dialogue, discuss options and reach a mutually agreeable resolution, which can preserve important relationships. Mediators assure the fairness of the process, facilitate communication, and maintain the balance of power between the parties.
Mediation sessions are confidential and voluntary for all parties. Mediation typically involves one or more meetings between the disputing parties and the mediator. It may also involve one or more confidential sessions between individual parties and the mediator (a “caucus”). Either party may withdraw at any time. Generally, a signed agreement is binding, and in some cases, court approval may be necessary.
In mediation, parties may choose to be represented by an attorney. While mediators may not give legal advice or interpret the law, they can refer parties to impartial outside experts within legal, financial or other communities when questions or issues arise needing clarification. If parties arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution, mediators may assist in drafting Memorandums of Understanding, comprised of the terms to which the parties have agreed. If mediation is unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, parties may still pursue all legal remedies, including private lawsuits.